It is nothing new. One regime is canned, while another is hired. With that process comes even more change. Right now, the Eagles as a team, are going through their largest transition period since 1999. As with most transitions, there have been plenty of arrivals (Lane Johnson, Matt Barkley, Pat Chung, Kenny Phillips, etc.) and exits (Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie). Still, the Eagles roster is not close to being finished.
The Eagles enter OTAs in a few days (May 13-15) with battles, at all positions, on the horizon. Those practices, along with training camp and the preseason games, will determine who will make the 53-man roster come opening day night against the Redskins. Among those fighting for a spot to remain with the team under the Chip Kelly regime, are a batch of veterans who have yet to make a lasting impression in the NFL. With scheme, coaching and philosophy changes already in place, this band of Eagles veterans could be hitting the bricks before September:
Jason Avant is the most seasoned, successful and talented player on this list. He has proven to be a tremendous route-runner and a safety valve for whoever is serving as the Eagles quarterback. Entering his eighth season, Avant has been an extremely productive slot receiver, posting 259 catches for nearly 3,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. While he is not the athlete that most associate with Chip Kelly's offense, he is the worker, blocker and team leader that he admires. Avant's competition is plentiful with the arrivals of Arrelious Benn, Ifeanyi Momah, and Russell Shepard, along with presence of Andy Reid holdovers, Damaris Johnson and Riley Cooper.
As most fans have noted, Kurt Coleman has been underwhelming as a starting NFL safety. That said, he was the 244th overall pick in the 2010 draft. After three years in the league, Coleman has become a feel-good story in a narrative sense but has left several fans feeling sick after games. At 5'11" and 195-pounds, Coleman is an underdog and has seem to have been able to latch onto the Eagles roster by providing quality effort in a locker room that has lacked such attributes over the past several seasons. Coleman should be tested after his performance last year, which included him being beaten on jump balls by 5'10" Santana Moss (he more likely 5'9") and get pointed at so often by Nnamdi Asomugha that it became a running joke. With Pat Chung likely entrenched in one starting spot and Nate Allen likely getting one more shot in his contract year, Coleman is going to Kenny Phillips, Colt Anderson, Earl Wolff, David Sims, and Eddie Whitley for 2-3 spots.
Jamar Chaney has had an odd tenure with the Eagles so far. From 2010 to 2011, Chaney's looked like he could ascend into stardom at multiple linebacker position. He was then injured through most of 2012, which saw him regulate to a backup role at all three linebacker spots. A former 7th round pick, Chaney still seems to have outperformed his draft position in spades, but that may not be good enough to hang around for his fourth year in Philadelphia. He has great speed and okay size to fit in the inside of Billy Davis' linebacking core, but with Jason Phillips and Emmanuel Acho in the fold, his spot could prove to be in jeopardy.
Along with Chaney, Casey Matthews is among those who will be tested this summer. An okay special teamer and backup linebacker, some in the media and fan base doubt his ability to play at a high-level. Before the hiring of Kelly, Matthews spoke very positively of his former coach at Oregon and one would think their familiarity would be a benefit for the former Duck, but that may not be the case. Matthews will battle the same talent that Chaney will, but he has proven to be less productive. At best, Matthews is depth for the team but is likely one of the more replaceable "veterans" on the team.
From 2nd round pick to roster bubble, all within one year, Vinny Curry may suffer the most from a regime change. Not even 25, Curry's career will take a major step forward or backward in the coming months, despite his pedigree. A talent most suitable for the 4-3 defensive end position, Curry could struggle to find a home in the 4-3 Under. The team has already tested him out at 5-technique and at rush linebacker, and did not trade him during the draft, so the team is taking a "wait and see" approach. Curry will have stiff competition with the additions of Clifton Geathers, Joe Kruger, David King and Bennie Logan. Also remember, Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox are both likely locks to make the team along with Logan and Isaac Sopoaga.
Several members of the 2010 draft class have been harshly judged over the last three seasons, but perhaps no one has taken more unnecessary heat than Clay Harbor. Harbor, a product of the "Andy and Marty School for Wasting Tight Ends", has gotten an unfair shake from Eagles fans over the years. A 4th round pick out of small-school Missouri State, Harbor has caught 47 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns. That is not bad for a typical 2nd-string tight end. Still, with James Casey and 2nd round pick, Zach Ertz, on board, Harbor's chances of making the team are slim. The Eagles may decide to keep four tight ends, but whether Harbor is one of them, is yet to be decided.
The Eagles (surprisingly) avoided player trades during the draft, which allowed to Phillip Hunt to stay with the team. At 5'11" and lacking the ideal physique for Kelly and Davis or the rush linebacker position, Hunt is probably one of the most in jeopardy of losing his spot. Set to battle the likes of Trent Coles, Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, and Brandon Graham for playing time, his odds are limited. Still, if Hunt has proven anything, it is that he can "Na Brown" an offseason like no other.
One of the more intriguing players entering the Kelly regime as a tenured member of the Eagles is Curtis Marsh. A running back who was converted into a cornerback midway through his time at Utah State, Marsh was given a bit of leeway over the last two seasons as a 3rd round pick. The Eagles have seen some promise from Marsh in backup duty and on special teams, but he will have to impress Kelly and Davis if he is make an impact on a team that already features Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Jordan Poyer and Brandon Boykin.
A 14 game starter in 2012, Dallas Reynolds improved as the season went on. The insurance policy to Jason Kelce, Reynolds proved that he can be an adequate backup but Kelly may be looking for a better athlete behind the former Cincinnati Bearcat in 2013. Reynold will not face tons of competition this summer which puts his position in good standing. He will likely have to beat out Nick Foles' former center, Arizona's Kyle Quinn, for the job.
A trade transaction before last season, David Sims was mostly on special teams in 2012. He had one start against the Saints, but for the most part, was understandingly dominated by Jimmy Graham. Likely suited for the same role in 2013, Sims is once again on the roster bubble. He will have a hard time beating out Colt Anderson and Kurt Coleman.
The Canadian version of Winston Justice has had a tough go over the last two seasons. Hopefully, like Winston, he will show his worth in season three. Watkins was benched midway through 2012 after a shaky performances early on, and stayed on the bench well throughout the season. It is unfortunate Watkins has not worked out thus far, but he still has potential. He carries a large contract with an even large cap hit, so he is likely to stick around. However, the Eagles do have plenty of cap and could just look to cut weight with the former Baylor Bear.
A promising product early on in his career, many thought the Eagles found a steal in Antonio Dixon. A wavier wire treasure in 2009, Dixon made a big impact in 2010, before being regulated to the bench in 2011. He was out of shape entering 2012 and was cut following the preseason. He lined up at nose tackle for two games with the Colts before being cut and latching back with the Eagles in the final game of the season. He will now compete with Logan, Sopoaga and Damion Square for nose tackle snaps.
Talented but underutilized and undersized, Brandon Hughes is one of the more likely vets to has the repercussions of Andy Reid's firing. A shorter cornerback (5'11") than Davis and Kelly have targeted in the offseason, Hughes may not fit the new regime's philosophy on the position. He has played relatively well when called upon and have excelled on special teams. He will likely compete for the 5th cornerback spot with Trevard Lindley and Curtis Marsh.